Boyz II Men Collide Album Release Concert
I’ve been waiting for the Boyz II Men album release concert for weeks. When I got to the Americana, I saw I was not the only one, The main viewing area was packed with hundreds of fans and I was relegated to the back. Two people behind a table told me that the new album is sold out, but they do have their old CD’s available. The cynic in me wondered, “Why are they making a comeback? Did they need the money? They left on top like Seinfeld or Jordan after his second three peat. Why ruin a storybook ending?” The MC boomed some mind blowing facts. Boyz II Men have sold 60 million CD’s worldwide. They took home four Grammys and burst on the scene from Philadelphia, PA back in 1991. That’s 23 years ago! Not much has changed. They are a trio now instead of a quartet. They added a few pounds, but haven’t we all? Their vocal powers and sweet harmonies are still intact. I was worried they were just going to showcase their new songs.
My fears were put to rest after the trio playfully introduced themselves. They belted out “On Bended Knee”. We’re all quickly reminded why Shawn, Wanya, and Nathan dominated the R&B scene in the 90s. Even though I was in the back of the crowd, I felt their emotions and soul pouring out. They continued turning back the clock when they crooned “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday”. I already took my wife and son to a few amusement parks I hit when I was younger. But this was the first retro concert we attended as a family. Plus nothing brings back memories like music. I saw another concert goer holding her baby and rocking to the music. This is the first time I felt nostalgic for my youth and yesteryear, all being present with my current life and loved ones. I felt like Marty McFly zooming back and forth in a souped up DeLorean!
The MC mention a new sound when he introduced them. When they sang their version of Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin'”, I figured this is what he’s talking about. We learned that Shawn was practicing guitar for the past six months. He was rocking out like Eddie Van Halen, when they did their soul/rock rendition of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “American Woman” by Lenny Kravitz. This portion was one of my highlights. Even though he was at the top of his game in terms of R&B and singing falsetto, Shawn expanded his skill set and showed off his new moves. I was inspired to continue being a lifelong student rather than stop at a plateau and say that I’m done.
In the second half of the show, we were treated to some of their new songs from “Collide”. Sadly from my vantage point, I could not make out the titles. But I got chills hearing their debut song “Diamond Eyes”. Be on the lookout for the powerful piano, the driving lyrics, and their vintage harmonies. They serenaded the ladies with “I”ll Make Love To You” and handed out roses. After another song from their new album, they knocked us out with a “End Of The Road” and “Motown Philly” combo. I fondly remembered me and my boys busting a move at the clubs. They graciously stayed behind to take pictures and sign autographs. The crowd and I was still buzzing as we slowly made our way to our cars. Boyz II Men are all grown up, but they still got it. For one magical night they helped my worlds “Collide”. Thanks Shawn, Wanya, and Nate!